Meet the Pro: The Poekie Nook

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For this month’s “Meet the Pro” interview we are thrilled to introduce you to the delightful Sophia van der Harst of The Poekie Nook.  “Poekie” (which rhymes with “spooky”) is an affectionate name that Dutch mothers call their babies.  Sophia’s Poekies are made with fleece fabric, and lovingly brought to life with charming details, Poly-Pellets,  and Poly-Fil.  The Poekie Nook is a one-woman business, and her creations have brought the joy of handmade to thousands all over the globe.

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Born and raised in a small village in Holland, amidst a bustling artistic family, Sophia learned most of her creative skills at a young age. Since 1992, she’s been teaching hand-sewing and beading to children in Mill Valley, California.

Twenty-two years and around twenty-thousand kids later, she opened her own place, Poekie Nook, in March 2014.

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At the Poekie Nook, Sophia designs stuffed animals, also known as “beanie babies,” ranging in size from 2” to 12”. Through a hand-sewing system that teaches the basics of hand-sewing, children quickly move up from beginner’s to advanced animals. Due to the drop-in format of the program, children of all ages and abilities inspire each other to reach the more advanced animals. Once they have acquired the skills needed for advanced Poekies, there is a world of projects to make for their animal, from clothes to furniture. Over 60 patterns are free online.
For many children, Poekie-making becomes a passion, some counting more than a 100 animals they’ve made within a year or two!
All Poekies are made of fleece and stuffed with Poly-Pellets and Poly-Fil Supreme from Fairfield.  We love having Sophia as a client, and we wanted to learn a little more about her work, so we asked her a few fun questions.
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If you could replay a big  moment in your sewing what would you choose?
The moment I opened my Poekie Nook. I never thought I could survive in my affluent town, just teaching hand-sewing. I will never forget that first Saturday afternoon when I opened the doors. I had spent 3 weeks remodeling a room in an old building, and built all the furniture to make it feel like a bright and homey place. I wandered around the room, looking at all my beloved Poekies and thought, “Will the children come? Do they really love to make Poekies so much that I can earn a living from it?” And then the children came, one at a time, until there were 15 girls sewing Poekies on that first afternoon.
Since then, I had to move the business location 4 times, and all my customers have faithfully followed me. Now in an official retail-space, the Poekie Nook has grown into a viable business.
Can you share one quote or saying you love?
“Create Your Own World”. My own saying. I have always created and lived in a world that is completely separate from the ‘mainstream’. I don’t have tv, rarely watch movies, and only use the computer as a work-tool. Because of this, my imagination has remained strong and very personal, and I am convinced that this attitude allows me to continue to design one-of-a-kind animals that are loved by all kids.
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 What would be a perfect crafternoon for you?
Just give me fabrics, laces, trim, notions and lots of beads, and I will feel like I had a great afternoon! 🙂
Thank you to Sophia from The Poekie Nook for sharing her story with us!  To learn more about The Poekie Nook, visit her website, follow her on Facebook, or sign up for her newsletter!

5 thoughts on “Meet the Pro: The Poekie Nook”

  1. Irene says:

    When I will become a grandma I will order Poekies inmediately!

    1. Niki Meiners says:

      Sounds like a great love filled idea.

  2. India Heap says:

    I have known this lovely woman since I was 9 years old (I am now 18). I still have every single poekie I have ever made and I have never had the heart to even put them in a cupboard for more than a couple days at a time. Sophia taught me more then just the techniques of sewing and beading, she taught me the importance of friendship and the importance of love. I was the first person to recieve a poekie kit so that I could make my own poekies at home. It was sent to me from California as I am Australian and had to move home in 2010. I have spent more hours then I can count with Sophia and I will never forget a moment of it. In my travels between Australia and the USA I would always worry that my old friends in the US would forget me but I never thought that Sophia would forget me because wherever Poekies can be found, I can find home.
    I am yet to see the Poekie Nook as I have not returned to the US since 2010 but when I visit California I will be there on the first day.
    Xx

    1. Niki Meiners says:

      What a sweet note. Thank you for sharing.

    2. India, dear, I love you and still miss you! Glad your Poekies are still safe and cared for. I so hope to see you again one day as a grown-up woman. xoxo-sophia

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